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The ball boy who became Scotland's most valuable player

Kieran Tierney will go down in Celtic folklore after completing a record move to Arsenal.

Kieran Tierney has left a Celtic after a trophy-laden career at Parkhead.
Kieran Tierney has left a Celtic after a trophy-laden career at Parkhead. SNS

The late great Billy McNeill always said there was a fairytale element to Celtic.

When the football historians look back on the career of Kieran Tierney they'll see why - he's the boyhood superfan who went from Parkhead ball boy to an instrumental role in the club's most dominant reign since the Lisbon Lions.

The 22-year-old is no longer part of Celtic after completing a £25m move to Arsenal, but the club will always be part of him.

Born on the Isle of Man before moving to Lanarkshire, Tierney's love affair with Celtic began when he signed for them aged just seven.

He rose hurriedly though the ranks, catching the eye of all those around him, including club legend Shunsuke Nakamura who, social media video evidence proves, put a huge smile on the youngster's face after handing over his boots following training.

Tierney then watched on as a ball boy as Celtic pulled off a miracle win over Barcelona on the 125th anniversary of the club - and vowed to be part of similar success in the future.

Kieran Tierney attracted attention soon after signing for Celtic as a boy.
Kieran Tierney attracted attention soon after signing for Celtic as a boy. SNS

Ronny Deila was the manager who made Tierney's dreams come true, when he handed the left-back his Premiership debut against Dundee. Celtic fans could little have known what was to come as they applauded the fresh-faced youngster onto the pitch.

As Tierney's astronomical rise through the ranks continued so did his bond with the Parkhead faithful. An image of him orchestrating the Hoops end of Hampden with a megaphone after clinching another treble will be forever etched in Celtic folklore.

But despite the success, the money and the plaudits, he remained a humble young man who knew he was living the dream and didn't want to wish the future away.

Still living at home with his parents and always dressed in shorts and t-shirt no matter the weather, Tierney was the epitome of Celtic's traditions.

Tierney had a great connection with Celtic fans.
Tierney had a great connection with Celtic fans. SNS

Even during media conferences, his true character would never wane - always smiling, asking reporters how they were and never shying away from tough questions.

And now he is a record breaker, commanding a transfer fee of £25m and few would argue had he cost more.

He moves to an Arsenal side in transition - manager Unai Emery has been spending the big bucks and most commentators will expect Tierney to be a success.

But with every big money move out of Parkhead, the burning questions for Celtic fans is 'will the money be reinvested in the squad?'.

Chief executive Peter Lawwell will surely have already had manager Neil Lennon at his door demanding cash to spend.

The pressure is on to continue their recent transfer activity and secure Champions League football.

Tierney has also been an important figure for Scotland.
Tierney has also been an important figure for Scotland. SNS

There's no doubt Celtic need to strengthen, especially with the Tierney-shaped hole in their defence. Their 1-1 draw away to Cluj in the Champions League raised question marks over new signing Boli Bolingoli.

The shopping list probably includes a new left-back, a centre-half, a right-back and an attacking midfielder.

Yes, Tierney will be a loss - he's been a rock for the club and the supporters - but no name on the back of the shirt is bigger than the crest on the front.

Plenty of Celtic fans - although there will undoubtedly be exceptions - will be wishing Tierney all the best in his adventure to the English Premier League.

In the end the deal makes sense for all parties - Celtic get a huge financial boost which should help reinforce their domestic dominance, and Tierney gets the move his dedication, talent and attitude deserves.

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